New body worn video cameras keeping parking officers safe in Sheffield

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Sheffield City Council is taking action to prevent anti-social behaviour towards its team of Civil Enforcement Officers by issuing them with Body Worn Video cameras.

The council’s Parking Services Civil Enforcement Officers – who tackle the city’s problem parkers to keep the city moving and school children safe – have recently started wearing the light-weight devices, attached to their jacket pockets.

The team, which operates across the city, can often encounter difficult situations in the course of their day-to-day activities. Civil Enforcement Officers can now choose when to film using the state-of-the-art devices – and material can be used in criminal proceedings if necessary.

Between 2011 and 2015, the number of violent incidents against civil enforcement officers increased year on year. During 2014/15, 76 incidents were reported, which is more than twice the number of those reported in 2011/12.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, said:

“I am so pleased that we are rolling out these body worn cameras across the whole team. we acknowledge the incredibly valuable job done by our civil enforcement officers.

“Our traffic officers help keep us all safe. They make sure that our children can get to school safely and that emergency vehicles can get where they need to go.

“The safety of our staff is absolutely vital. We have a zero tolerance approach to all aggression and we will not tolerate any acts of verbal or physical abuse whatsoever. These cameras are a vital way for us to keep our hardworking staff safe.”

The devices can capture high-quality images close up, including audio recording, and work at night in low light.

The cameras won’t be used to provide evidence to support issuing Parking Fines. They are solely for the prevention and detection of crime. They are visible on an officer’s uniform.

The Civil Enforcement Officers have received training in the use of the body-worn cameras, and the devices are only used when the officer feels under threat. The cameras won’t be constantly running. Devices are securely encrypted and they are password protected, so if stolen data is secure and can’t be deleted. They’re also very robust and damaging the device won’t stop the footage from being usable.

These cameras complement the other safety equipment officers are issued with, such as the Airwaves Two Way radio system which connects Civil Enforcement Officers direct to South Yorkshire Police control, so in the case of a serious incident police can be dispatched immediately.

 

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City Council Launches Ambitious “Sheffield Green City”

Sheffield has begun the journey to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050 with the launch of its bold new Green City strategy with an ambitious six-point plan and launch of a new partnership to tackle the issues.

The report, set to be endorsed by the Council’s cabinet tomorrow, aims to reduce the city’s impact on the climate by becoming a zero-carbon city by 2050, taking steps to move to a low-carbon economy immediately.

It also sets out plans to empower communities, residents, public sector and businesses to become resilient to climate change and ensure the city’s homes and businesses use sustainable and affordable energy.

It will enable modern, reliable and clean journeys for everyone, ensure air is clean for all and create a green and innovative economy by supporting Sheffield businesses to become more energy efficient and delivering new low-carbon jobs for local people.

Green City Sheffield builds upon the ground breaking work of the Sheffield Green Commission. Sheffield City Council has already been leading the way to becoming a low-carbon economy.

Sheffield is testing the largest fleet of hydrogen vehicles outside of London and is the first large city to introduce anti-idling measures to stop people leaving their engines running outside schools. As a further sign of its commitment, the Council has also introduced the UK’s largest dockless bike sharing scheme.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Our Green City is a deliberately ambitious and far-reaching plan, with big implications for how we live and work in Sheffield. We believe this is the clearest, boldest and most developed plan of anywhere in Britain.

“It clearly sets out the changes we need to make to be prepared for challenges like more extreme and unpredictable weather, as well as the investments and opportunities that will help to improve our health, clear our air, make our city easier to get around and make our energy more affordable for everyone.

“I am very clear that man-made climate change is the biggest social justice issue of this century and requires bold, radical action. This plans sets out how we will respond to this huge challenge and enhance and protect Sheffield’s environment for everyone.”

Sheffield was one of the first cities in the UK to introduce district heating and implement clean air powers in the 1970s and private sector investment has created a further two biomass-powered decentralised energy plants in the city.

 

Councillor Scott said:

“We have a great track-record of delivery and we need to work collectively to achieve our ambitious goals.

“I absolutely recognise that the transition to a low carbon economy will not always be easy, and will involve difficult choices at times. But this is about doing the right thing for people across our city, in order to create a fairer city, as the effects of climate change are not just environmental or economic.

“At its heart, man-made climate change is a social justice issue that especially affects people who are less-well-off.

“We want to enable all Sheffielders, businesses, institutions and organisations to play a role developing and delivering the solutions that will take Sheffield towards a zero carbon future.

“This is a bold, ambitious and credible plan for our great city that will help us to create and protect an environment that everyone can enjoy. We all know there has been a huge amount of debate and discussion over street trees on both sides.

“But we will only be able to build a fairer city if we focus on other broader environmental issues like decarbonisation, energy generation and the green-collar jobs of the future. This plan shows how we will do that.

“This plan gives us the tools we need to achieve our vision for Sheffield, where everyone breathes clean air, can access reliable, clean transport, feels safe and secure from the threats posed by man-made climate change and has access to affordable, sustainable energy to heat and power their homes and businesses.”

During 2015 Sheffield City Council facilitated the city’s first Green Commission. This independent commission was made up of key leaders and stakeholders from across the city, including business, industry, our universities, the public sector and the voluntary and community sector.

The final report of the Sheffield Green Commission – Sheffield’s Green Commitment – was published in 2016, and set out a vision for how, working together as a city, Sheffield could become a smarter, more sustainable, more competitive ‘future city’.

The Green City strategy will initially result in a city–wide Sustainable Energy Action Plan and signing-up to a recognised carbon reporting framework.

By 2020, the Council will have achieved a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions, and, in the next seven years, the Council and its partners will have substantially increased the level of low carbon and renewable energy generation in the city

By 2030, a majority of the city’s energy will be supplied from low carbon and renewable technologies, with work already being progressed to determine how the Council can use its own assets to generate renewable energy, and develop its existing energy networks.

The council will also launch a debate around how the city can adopt and stay within an agreed carbon budget, that enables Sheffield to deliver its share of the Paris Agreement; this will limit average temperature increases to well-below 2 degrees Celsius, and will have the aim of ensuring Sheffield becomes a zero carbon city by 2050.

To view the report, click here.

Sheffield Labour Council Slams Tory “Great Train Robbery”

Sheffield’s Labour Council has blasted the eye-watering rise in ticket prices, which comes in to force today.

Rail fares will go up by an average of 3.4%, the highest increase in five years. Ticket prices have already risen by 27% since 2010, twice the rate of wages.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport at Sheffield City Council said:

“This price rise is a total disgrace and will hit hard-working Sheffielders in their pockets hard. For the tens of thousands of Sheffield people who use the trains, this ‘Great Train Robbery’ is an awful way to start 2018.

“Our railways are being run by greedy fat cats on ever higher salaries, when they should be run as a public service, for the public good, with money re-invested in the public interest. Our railway system should be run for the benefit of the many, not to enrich a privileged few.”

“Fares have risen faster wages every year of this clueless government, but the Tories still have the cheek to say there isn’t money to electrify the Midland Mainline, even though it would boost growth by £450 million and help to rebalance our economy.”

“Privatisation has been a disaster for our railways, with higher fares, lower punctuality and a focus on short-term profit rather than long-term investment. Only Labour has the ambition and courage to deliver the railway the public deserves in 2018”

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Irina Amelkina of Gleadless, Sheffield works in Nottingham and commutes every day. She said:

“It’s absolutely absurd rail fares are going up yet again. It’s completely unfair that shareholders and executives at the top are making so much whilst the rest of us are being squeezed and losing out. The railways should be nationalised. It’s really galling to have to pay just to see companies make even more money for slow and unreliable services”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said:

“While workers are struggling, the private train companies are raking it in. As we enter the 25th anniversary of railway privatisation legislation, the need for public ownership of rail has never been more popular or necessary.

Speech to Full Council: A Vision for Better Transport in Sheffield with Labour

*** Below is a copy of my remarks to the recent Full Council meeting, where I led Labour’s call for proper investment in Northern transport and infrastructure. Check against delivery ***
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Once again, the Tory government is letting the people of Sheffield down and taking us for a ride. 

The cancellation of electrification means passengers in Sheffield will be denied the faster, greener, more reliable train journeys we were promised. The London-centric Tories do not act in the interests of the whole UK. They have put their own survival ahead of everything else, finding £1 billion for a deal with the DUP, and it’s communities like ours in South Yorkshire that are paying the price.

The Tories are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by claiming that diesel bi-mode trains will deliver the same benefits as electrification, despite saying for years that failure to electrify the network will cause 20% more CO2, worsen air quality, lessen capacity and make services slower and less reliable AND more costly to maintain. The Tory spin isn’t fooling anyone.

It is absurd that it takes longer to travel by train from Liverpool to Hull than from London to Paris, yet the government spend £1500 more per head in London than the North.

But rather than addressing these disparities, the Conservatives are abandoning the North.

We need a different government, with a different vision. So not only will Labour deliver the promised electrification, Labour will nationalise franchises as they expire, Labour will invest £10bn to build a new Crossrail for the North and expand the rail network in order to drive economic growth and rebalance our economy for the many not the few.

I’d like to finish on a slightly more positive note and talk about HS2 and HS3. I’m pleased to see the Liberal Democrats are grudgingly welcoming the progress Labour has secured for city centre location, despite Nick Clegg’s view that it should be in Meadowhall. Many people said that a city-centre location would never happen, never be agreed and never be in the plan. They were all proved wrong.

This administration is focused, determined and succeeding in delivering HS2 in the best possible place for Sheffield and South Yorkshire. This is the result of the strong, determined leadership of our Leader Julie Dore, me and Labour.

Finally, Lord Mayor, this isn’t just about being Sheffield. Investment in transport is essential to rebalancing the economy and boosting growth and creating opportunities for all.

So Sheffield has the Council that it needs but Britain doesn’t have the government that it deserves. The sooner this dishonourable, discredited and dysfunctional government is put out of its misery – the better. Thank you very much.

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Air Quality Interview – Sheffield Live Video

Council condemns government plan on vehicle pollution from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

£18m investment speeds up Sheffield buses

A £18.3 million investment to speed up Sheffield bus routes and cut congestion has seen some city journey times slashed by up to 25 per cent.

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Highway improvements on key bus routes – including smarter signal controls, new bus lanes, junction upgrades, road widening and more cameras to better monitor the flow of traffic – in the city centre, north Sheffield, Gleadless, Meadowhead and on Penistone Road have also seen bus punctuality improvements of up to three per cent.

The work, designed to give buses priority and improve traffic management across Sheffield’s 187 bus routes, is part of the UK’s first designated ‘Better Bus Area’ scheme, delivered by Sheffield Bus Partnership since 2013 and funded by the Department for Transport.

Benefiting up to 55 million passengers a year, it combines money previously paid directly to bus operators with a Government grant, allowing the Partnership – made up of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Sheffield City Council and local bus companies – to work together to improve bus journey times to provide regular and reliable services.

Sheffield City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Councillor Jack Scott, said: “Public transport is key to helping people travel in and around Sheffield, and a good quality bus service is vital in offering people choices in how they travel, and helping the City Council manage traffic congestion.

“We all want more jobs and homes provided for people, and the Better Buses Programme has made major contributions to improving conditions on our main roads – for buses and for car drivers, by making a series of highway improvements that benefit everyone.”

SYPTE Director of Public Transport, Ben Gilligan, said: “Buses are a vital public service and an effective bus network is an essential part of a vibrant economy – linking people to jobs, education, shops and leisure. Through the Better Bus Area scheme, Sheffield Bus Partnership is helping transport to move more efficiently on key city corridors, and in turn improving bus satisfaction and increasing passenger numbers to reduce carbon emissions and congestion for everyone.”

Co-location of bus operator and Council staff at the city’s Urban Traffic Control Centre, a move made possible through the scheme, also means information sharing and the ability to minimise disruption caused by road incidents is greatly improved.

Future improvements delivered by the five-year Better Bus Area scheme, which concludes in March 2018, include widening Chesterfield Road at Heeley and further improvements on the Barnsley Road Corridor.

Kevin Belfield, Managing Director of First South Yorkshire, said: “We’re pleased with the latest results, which show that bus journey times are being reduced, however it’s important that we don’t become complacent, as what really matters to our customers is our ability to run services punctually. We welcome the continued work to improve road infrastructure for public transport in Sheffield.”

Matt Davies, Managing Director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, added: “We welcome these results and are really pleased to see investment and improvements are helping to deliver benefits for passengers and contributing to a more efficient and attractive city transport network.

“However, improvements in journey time can easily be offset by increasing traffic levels and congestion which means that we must continue to keep up the momentum. Focusing on improving bus journey times is now even more essential than ever.”

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Driving Forward: Better Buses for Sheffield